The early season injuries continue for the Toronto Blue Jays, this time in the form of bullpen pitching.
Julian Merryweather has been off to a great start this year as he is often hitting 100mph while going 4.1 innings pitched without giving up an earned run. However, he is now headed to the Injured List with a left oblique strain according to the Blue Jays. This is a big injury for the Jays, as Merryweather was looking very comfortable in high leverage and closing situations so far this season.
David Phelps who is also off to a great start for the Jays is expected to miss some time after taking a line drive off the back in Tuesday’s game against the Yankees. Phelps has gone 5.1 innings in mostly high leverage situations while supporting a 1.69 ERA with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks.
The bullpen has definitely taken a hit to its high leverage pitchers, but the injuries don’t stop there. Wednesday’s projected starter Ross Stripling has been pulled from his start with right forearm tightness according to the Jays. T.J. Zeuch will fill-in for Wednesday’s start, but this now opens up a spot in the rotation potentially this week. It is believed the Jays could go in a couple different directions by either starting Anthony Kay, Tanner Roark, or opting for a bullpen game as mentioned by Montoyo.
The depth of this pitching staff will be tested over the next couple weeks with the new vacancies in the go to high leverage pitchers. We can expect Jordan Romano to take on most of the closing situations, with Rafael Dolis being relied on heavily late in the ball games. After those two pitchers the rest of the pen is wide open, guys like Ryan Borucki, Trent Thornton and Tim Mayza will be relied on for more important roles.
Joel Payamps, and new call up Anthony Castro could also see an increased role in the pen. Many believe the depth of this bullpen and pitching staff is strong, but now is the time that we will truly find out how deep this staff is as they face their first forms of adversity in the pen.